Nasty lampoons haunt Nick Cave with unintended laughs. He almost begs for them with his canon of melodramatic tunes, Southern Gothic posings and humorless attempts at Iggy Pop-style destruction. On the other hand, there's a reason why Johnny Cash has covered Cave's songs, and a reason why an inspired rocker such as PJ Harvey would gladly agree to boinking Cave: when he's on, nobody can rock harder. And he's really on here, with such tracks as "Bring It On," "Dead Man In My Bed" and "Babe, I'm on Fire." Cave's Hammond organ tears through angry Jerry Lee Lewis territory like a hellbound hayride, and Bad Seed Warren Ellis' jazz violin laces these driving swaths with a delicious bohemian vibe. Then there's the rest of the Bad Seeds, a pack of punk bad boys pushing middle age and showing, once again, that the art of crafting pissed-off music can be graceful and life-affirming, even if the baddest seed can't kick his nasty habit for the overdramatic.
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